revision three, tentative (05.09.1999)
The Islands use a solar calendar inherited from older cultures, but modified by the faithful. Years are usually named after the current governing Caliph of the vicinity, meaning there are a wide variety of Calendars in use accross the disperse authorities of the Islands. But a more widely used standard is the number of years since the ascension of Varren Salema, thus the first year of the campaign is 2481 since Varren Salema.
Months and Seasons
A year is divided into four seasons, one for each element. Each season has three months, each of 30 days: Taraq, Masta, Magarib, Gammam, Mihla, Qawafil, Safa, Dar, Riyah, Nau, Rahat, Saris. Between Qawafil and Safa fall the five High Holy Days of Paledra. </p><p> Weeks of the Year
Each month is divided into six weeks of five days. The holy month or Paledra is one week, so the year has 73 weeks, a total of 365 days. Leap years are not compensated for, so upon the death of the Grand Caliph the calendar is suspended as needed with extra mourning days, inserted before the month of Paledra, before the next Grand Caliph assumes the throne. These are days of great woe and dark magics. </p><p> Days of the Week
There are five days to the week, and thus six weeks per month. Paledra is an D&Ditional, holy week, giving the whole year a total of 73 weeks or 365 days. The days of the week are named for the four elements, with one day at the end of the week reserved for Fate and the Gods. The days are not usually named. Instead you speak of the fifth day of the week or the thirteenth day of the month If named, the names are the same as those of the holy days of Paledra. </p><p> Climate and Seasons
The Islands is divided into three distinct climate zones, so weather is somewhat more complicated than one would think. </p><p> The first weather zone is based on the Great Sea. It has cold, rainy winters and hot, still summers. The best periods for sea travel in this region is spring and autumn. Hot days are categorized by breezed in the morning and evening, dead calm at night and fog at noon. </p><p> The second zone is centered on the golden gulf, but also categorizes the High Desert and Haunted Lands. In these regions there is little seasonal variations, summers are somewhat hotter but winter is still hot. There is very little cloud cover, and almost no rain. What moisture exist comes as dew near the sea or from wells. The climate near the Gulf of Temar can be positively humid. </p><p> The third weather zone is based on the Crowded sea and the foreigner's sea further east. In winter, this region experiences dry northeasterly winds. In the late winter and spring, typhoons come riding this wind with great storms and downpours. Summers are categorized by humid south and southeasterly winds that bring monsoons and massive rainfall. The western part of the region has the same weather, but less rain. Spring and autumn are marked by dry easterly winds. Ships can use sails year around, though few dare sail during winter because of the typhoons. </p><p> Months of the Year
Though winter is considered the last season of the year, Taraq is the first month of the year. For a description of the season of Winter, see before Nau, below. </p><p> The first and last month, time of the dead. Generally a cold, damp month when people say home and tend to home and family. </p><p> It is said that Hama-spirits trapped in the borderland are often released at this time. Considered a good time for marriages, and for the creation of new life. </p><p> Spring
Sand Season. The heat returns, and grasses turn brown. This is a time for harvest and mating, generally considered a good time for marriages. The crops of this time are the basic, staple crops, like vegetables and cereals. </p><p> Masta. February
A time of brisk winds, typhoons may still come in the Crowded Sea. The coolest month of the year. Usually the beginning of the pearl season. </p><p> Magarib. Mars
Gusts of wind disperse the beginning heat, though periods of calm are common. Brave and hasty travelers start out now. </p><p> Gammam. April
Soft easterly winds make travel pleasant. Many communities have official holidays during Gammam that mark the beginning of the trading season. </p><p> Slaughter time for the al-hadar. </p><p> Summer
Sea Season. The merciless sun causes the sea to evaporate, bringing mist to the Great Sea and dew to the Golden Gulf. This is the time of monsoons in the Crowded Sea, with slow winds and great rainfall. Al-Hadar migrate to the south. </p><p> Mihla. May
The monsoon begins in the Ruined Kingdoms and Afyal. In the rest of The Islands, the ground is firm and suitable for the passage of travelers and armies. Often a time of raids and pilgrimages. </p><p> The last crops are harvested in the north, farmers return to the cities from their fields. Mating season for herds and wild beasts. </p><p> Qawafil. June
The monsoon reaches the Crowded Sea. Usually the end of the pearl season. </p><p> The savannah is dry and barren, with little food for the al-badia's beasts. </p><p> Paledra Holy Week
The holy week, during which all of the faithful fast between sunrise and sunset. Five days of faith, meditation, and fasting, and five nights of grand celebration. War and work is prohibited at this time. </p><p> Paledra is not considered a part of summer, but a season in it's own right, Fate Season. </p><p> The days of ordinary weeks are not usually named, but the names of they days of Paledra can be used for them, as well. </p><p> Ahad: The first High Holy Day, sacred to Wind.
Atnen: The second High Holy Day, sacred to Sand.
Salas: The third High Holy Day, sacred to Flame.
Arba: The fourth High Holy Day, sacred to Sea.
Yasad: The fifth High Holy Day, and Ascension Day, sacred to Fate. The anniversary of the day Varren Salema ascended to the throne, and the day on which a new local Caliph ascends to the throne, and on which the reigning Caliph makes a public appearance and worships and speaks at the Holy Places. </p><p> Safa. July
Culmination of the monsoon, by now rains are commonplace even in the southern High Desert. The rest of The Islands is very hot and dry. </p><p> Wars traditionally begin at this time, after the negotiations at Paledra have failed. </p><p> The northern <a href="?title=al-hadhar">al-hadar</a> come to the cities for summer, and are available as mercenaries. </p><p> Autumn
Earth Season. The High Desert is still green, while the lands by the Great Sea start to recover from the heat of summer. This is the preferred time of war. </p><p> Dar. August
A time for heroes and wars. Early crops demanding lots of water, like rice, are harvested in the east. </p><p> Kamedden's Birthday. Few states still celebrate this day, 27 Dar. But in those places where observance is still honoured this festival has made this month somewhat more peaceful. </p><p> Riyah. September
A month of plains-fires. </p><p> Nau. October
Harvest time for dates, coconuts and other desert plants. </p><p> Armies march home. </p><p> Winter
Wind season, a time of storms and breezes. A good time for land travel, but dangerous at sea. </p><p> In the Great Sea region, this is a rainy, cold and uncomfortable time. Travel is dangerous because of floods and high winds. In the Central Sea, weak northerly winds prevail, but occasional typhoons make travel hazardous. </p><p> Rahat. November
Harvest time for wine, fruit and other northern plants demanding much sunlight. Birthing time for herds. </p><p> Saris. December
Coffee and Frankincense are harvested. Beginning of winter storms in the north.